Quds Day, Ontario, 2013
Quds Day, Ontario, 2013Jonathan Dahoah Halevy

B’nai Brith Canada on Tuesday called on the Government of Ontario to prevent its property from being used for the annual Al-Quds Day event, scheduled for this Saturday.

Al-Quds Day was declared in 1979 by Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of the Iranian Revolution. It is marked throughout the Middle East and in countries around the world, including the United States.

During Al-Quds Day, rallies are held around the world and are used to incite against Israelis and Jews.

After being pushed online for two years due to COVID-19, organizers recently announced their intent to hold an Al-Quds Day event again in downtown Toronto, and are calling on their followers to gather at 361 University Ave. That location is occupied by a courthouse, which is owned and occupied by the Government of Ontario, noted B’nai Brith Canada.

Al-Quds Day events in Canada have become a notorious forum for the promotion of antisemitism, terrorism and even calls for genocide. At the 2014 Toronto iteration of the event, Moulana Zaki Baqri called for “Yahoodi,” i.e. Jews, to be “dismantled.” In 2013 and 2016, speakers called for Israelis to be shot.

In 2018, Sheikh Shafiq Hudda, director of the Islamic Humanitarian Service in Kitchener, Ontario, said during an Al-Quds Day rally that a day will come when we will see "the eradication of the unjust powers, such as the American empire, such as the Israeli Zionists."

He challenged the IDF to enter Gaza and "fight like men, not cowards," saying, "You will leave in body bags."

At the 2020 virtual Canadian al-Quds Day event, one speaker said of “Zionist citizens of so-called Israel” that “We must treat them as we would treat any thieves and murderers.” This was followed by a video that described Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement, as a “Satanic endeavor.” The video went on to identify Zionism with “the military-industrial complex, elite-run societies, corporatocracies” and “the 1% who rule this planet.”

B’nai Brith Canada noted in its statement that in 2018, Ontario Premier Doug Ford promised that his government would act to ensure that events like Al-Quds Day “are no longer part of the landscape in Ontario.”

“The Government of Ontario must fulfill its promise to take action against the noxious Al-Quds Day,” said Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of B’nai Brith Canada. “There should be no right to engage in hateful speech or wave the flags of terrorist organizations on provincial property.

“Municipal authorities also have a key role to play. The City of Toronto has a policy that explicitly prohibits the use of public space to promote hate or discrimination – why is this never enforced against Al-Quds Day?”